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Poster: Hg80 Date: Nov 23, 2011 6:28pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright status on 'Freaks'

This issue with Browning's "Freaks" is a curious one. If you delve into the history of the film some curious and salient issues emerge involving MGM and the cultural aversion to the film. MGM was not happy with the film and even on no less that three attempts altered the ending on test audiences. A studio's disapproval is strike one. Box office receipts were dismal and the film was banned in several foreign countries. Loss of revenue was strike two. The fact that "Freaks" did not fit the typical genre of horror films but dealt with reality of deformed human beings did not set well with theater goers. A social misfit itself was strike three. The film disappeared and only sporadically surfaced in art houses and with the likes of Dwain Esper [another Kroger Babb] an exploitation pioneer. More than likely Dwain Esper acquired exhibition rights and not ownership rights.

This is just another example of copyright confusion.

Interesting to note that the film was shown at the, I think, 1963 Cannes Film Festival with much success...a different generation and a new perspective have certainly changed its popularity.

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Poster: tristero Date: Nov 23, 2011 6:52pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright status on 'Freaks'

For anyone who's interested, the short story the film is based on - "Spurs", by Tod Robbins - was recently reprinted in the anthology Best American Noir of the Century, edited by Otto Penzler and James Ellroy. It's a good story and worth checking out, especially if you're a fan of the film.

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Poster: Hg80 Date: Nov 23, 2011 7:47pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright status on 'Freaks'

Of interest on the endings I mentioned...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ5ZxlqOou8&;feature=related

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Poster: Hg80 Date: Nov 23, 2011 7:08pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright status on 'Freaks'

Tod Robbins' "Spurs"

http://www.olgabaclanova.com/spurs.htm

"Freaks" script

http://www.paradiselost.org/freaks.html

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Poster: Archfilm Date: May 1, 2013 11:07am
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: Copyright status on 'Freaks'

There are sources that claim that Esper solely owned distribution rights.

"When MGM shelved 'Freaks,' it gave a twenty-five-year license on the film to Dwain Esper," and that the rights later reverted to MGM ("Cutting Edge: Art-horror and the Horrific Avant-garde" by Joan Hawkins, p. 146).

"For years, [MGM] leased the film out to subdistributors like Dwain Esper" ("America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide to the Landmark Movies in the National Film Registry Daniel Eagan, p. 191).

TCM's website also claims that MGM licensed the film to Esper (http://www.tcm.com/tcmdb/title/163/Freaks/articles.html).

There are many legit sources on the web (non-Wikipedia) that Loew's Inc., which renewed the copyright in 1959, was the parent company of MGM.